Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Agree to Disagree

I work for more than one person in a very complicated arrangement that not even I am sure of the details of. Most of the time this is to my advantage. But recently two people that I consider to be bosses gave me the exact opposite advice on how to run an experiment. Perhaps advice is not strong enough of a term. One boss said that I absolutely must run my upcoming experiment a particular way and started meeting with me to teach me how to do it and providing materials so I could do so. The other boss said that I in no circumstances should run my experiment using the method the first boss was adamant about using. This was really stressing me out. Both bosses could keep me from graduating if they’re unhappy with my work. I feel more loyal to one boss but am more philosophically aligned with the other one. For the first time, I have to make a decision on my own and defend it without being able to just say I’m doing it because my boss told me to, because whichever way I pick I’m going to have to convince a skeptical boss that it’s the right decision.

It’s frightening but exhilarating.


  1. Making a choice and justifying your answer is part of taking charge of your research, I think. The first time I had to convince my (one) boss that I wanted to do something contrary to his advice, it really felt weird. Good thing I was right, or I would have been in trouble... :) Sounds like you can't please everybody in this case, though, so that's tough.

    Good luck!

  2. Get them both in the same room and discuss.

  3. Thanks for the thoughts. I just explained my decision to the skeptical boss and he came around to my side. Now all that's left is actually doing the experiment and showing that the decision was the right one!